ASUU vs FG: new friction emerges 

As the federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) continue to bicker over the payment of salaries for the period of the strike, another disagreement has emerged between both parties. 

What’s the disagreement? 

The federal government recently made its proposal to ASUU for the potential resolution of the dispute and was awaiting ASUU’s feedback on the content of the proposal, which included the remuneration of lecturers in Nigerian universities. ASUU is reported to have now rejected the FG’s proposal which it says would result in the reduction of the salaries of some members of the union – specifically junior lecturers in the graduate assistant cadre. 

This contradicts the fact that better pay and general improvement in their terms of engagement are significant parts of the demands of ASUU. This is in addition to their demand for the payment of salaries for the period of the strike which is now more than 6 months. In the FG’s proposal, which ASUU’s president Emmanuel Osodeke described as a “miserable offer”, senior professors will see their annual pay increased to N9m, but entry-level lecturers will have their own pay reduced to a monthly net of less than N90,000. 

How much is their current pay? 

According to a source that spoke to The Punch, graduate assistants on step 4 currently earn around N1.6m annually, which translates to a gross monthly pay of about N133,000. After various deductions, each person goes home with about N111,000. But under the new arrangement, “the government proposed N1m per annum for starters, while senior graduate assistants will get N1.2m per annum and by the time the necessary deductions will be made in terms of pension, tax, and others, some of them may be going home with less than N90,000 monthly”, the source said. 

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The Punch reported that another source confirmed the new terms, saying “it is more like they removed money from junior lecturers and added the small change to senior ones”. The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, had said last week that the strike’s call-off was being stalled by disagreement over the salaries for the 6 months of the strike, which the FG is not willing to pay since the members of ASUU didn’t work in the period. It remains to be seen how long it would take both sides to reach a compromise.